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Legal Research Quick Start for Work

This guide is designed for current law students working as law clerks and for recent grads.

Starting Points

Running into problems? Check Online Resources or Ask a Librarian

 

Looking for...? Have you tried...?
federal litigation documents Bloomberg Law docket search (Bloomberg Law login needed)
law journal articles HeinOnline's Law Journal Library (UofSC login needed)
restatements HeinOnline's American Law Institute Library (UofSC login needed)
SC jury instructions Anderson's Requests to Charge (Westlaw, Lexis, in print)
SC legislative history UofSC Law Library's Guide to South Carolina Legal Resources > Superseded Statutes

Legal Research Process

1. Formulate the Question

  • What is the issue?
  • Facts? (who, what, when, where)
  • Jurisdiction?
  • Area of law?
  • Legal terms of art? 

2. Secondary Sources

3. Statutes / Regulations

  • If a statute or regulation is relevant, look it up in the code on Westlaw or Lexis.
  • Use the annotations (Notes of Decisions) to find cases interpreting the statute or regulation.
  • Use the citator (Shepard's or KeyCite) to find cases and secondary sources, and to ensure the statute/regulation is good law.

4. Cases

  • If a case is relevant, look it up on Westlaw or Lexis.
  • Use its headnotes (topics) to find more cases.
  • Use the citations within the case to find more cases.
  • Use the citator (Shepard's or KeyCite) to find cases and secondary sources, and to ensure the case is good law.

At any point, feel free to Ask a Librarian.